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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  February 16, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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three candidates druktly answering questions from south carolina voters and 8:00 here on cnn. do not miss that. i'm brooke baldwin. thanks so much for being with me. "the lead" starts now. >> thanks, brooke. the first snapshot of the south carolina presidential race in months, right here in seconds. "the lead" starts right now. it's dirty, it's raw, it's personal, it is south carolina politics. and in just four days it could be a battle for the republican party's very soul. plus, the other battle for the future, president obama coming out to speak about replacing justice antonin scalia who died suddenly saturday. shaping up to be one of the big of the battles of his entire presidency. >> conspiracy theorys in overdrive, blaming everyone from president obama, clintons, dick
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cheney, mr. spock for the death of justice scalia at age 79. which presidential candidate added tin foil to the proverbial hat? >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. breaking news. brand-new cnn polls laying out the state of the race in south carolina as the republicans like to say, south carolina picks presidents. so if your name is donald j. trump you might be grinning, four days before republicans vote in the palmetto state you have a big lead there. hillary clinton also has a big lead, but with more than a week until south carolina democrats flood the poll, so many undecided democrats, a sanders supporter, might, might see some evidence all is not yet lost. dana bash with the poll numbers, ted cruz and jeb bush have been going after donald trump ever since his victory in new hampshire. but none of the attacks against
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him seem to have affected his standings of the polls in south carolina. >> not as of right now. this is a huge lead, to yoet qu the front unner, he has 38%. ted cruz behind him. but pretty far behind him, look at 22%, and marco rubio is in third. jeb bush at 10. and it goes on. the other key wiissue which cou give donald trump smiles people on the republican side in south carolina think he's electable. 53% think that he has the best chance to win. jake, look at that, nobody comes close to him on that. ted cruz is way behind at 19%. >> dana, evangelical voters obviously helped propel ted cruz to a victory in iowa. a lot of evangelical voters in south carolina as opposed to new hampshire, where trump won. where are they lining up? >> it is absolutely counter to everything you and i learned in politics. the evangelicals are not going for the guy who is one of them.
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they're going for donald trump. look at that. to me, this the most stunning number in this entire poll. 42% of evangelicals, who as you said, a huge portion of the republican electorate in south carolina, they are going for trump. ted cruz has only 23%. >> astounding, son of an evangelical preacher. turn to the democrats, if you're in hillary clinton's campaign, feel pretty good, dive beneath just the overall horse race there. what's in there that makes the clinton people feel good on this poll? >> the clinton people, they've been calling south carolina their fire wall, and it looks like, at this point, it still could be, that's overall, 56% say they support hillary clinton, 38% bernie sanders. but to your point, let look at another reason, two reasons why she should be pretty happy now. more than 50% of the democratic vote in south carolina is african-american, and she is crushing bernie sanders. >> wow, 65%.
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>> that's right, to 28%en and another thing that makes -- should make her happy, 54% choose her over bernie sanders on the question of who would do the most to help the middle class? that, of course, bernie sanders' calling card. >> astounding. the republican primary in south carolina is this saturday. the democrats, a week from this saturday. still time to change minds. are there any numbers that the sanders people might hold on to? >> yes, we'll pour rain on hillary clinton's parade, and that is that the majority have not decided. 43% say they have definitely decided. but you see 16% say they're leaning, 40% say they're flat-out still trying to decide and that is quite different from what we saw going into iowa and new hampshire. the democrats were much more comfortable in who they were going to look for and who they were going to vote for about this far out. >> all right. some glimmer of light for bernie sanders supporters but
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generally, much better showing for hillary clinton. yesterday on the show, donald trump admitted that all of the nastiness between he and his rivals, quote, will probably wind up hurting whomever the republican presidential nominee is. mr. trump must be toning it down today, right. >> cnn's sunlen serfaty in south carolina, where ted cruz was. usually politician avoid using the "l" word, liar, lie, they say their opponent is being misleading or misrepresenting their record. i think in the last week or so, i heard the word "liar" used more by republicans than the previous fur our or five presidential races. things are going to "l" in south carolina. >> reporter: the race is turning ugly quickly here. the accusations on the campaign trail are about who is the biggest higher? the race is quickly turning into a republican bloodbath.
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>> ted holds up the bible and then lies about so many things. these are lies. >> reporter: tonight, all-out war erupting in the republican presidential race and donald trump is leading the charge. this guy is so strident and nasty he's going to lose every single state. >> reporter: trump and marco rubio accelerating full-scale attack on ted cruz, slamming the texas senator as a liar. >> never seen a human being lie so much. he'll take your record. i talk to you about obamacare, he'll say trump loves obamacare. how do you fight that? i hate obamacare. >> reporter: rubio and trump accusing cruz of distorting their records, same-sex marriage, abortion, immigration, health care to raise questions about their conservative credentials. >> he's lying and it's disturbing. i said that at the debate. he's making things up. >> reporter: trumps doubling down on a potential lawsuit
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against the canadian born cruz, unless cruz backs off and apologizes. >> thinking about it seriously. >> reporter: cruz's response to trump, don't hold your breath. >> as conservatives coalesce behind our campaign, donald gets angrier and angrier and begins yelling insults whenever anyone points to his record. >> reporter: but it's not the only scrum sparking the south carolina brawl. >> south carolina politics is rough and tumble for sure. >> reporter: jeb bush today hammering trump's temperament. >> i'll be a commander in chief, not agitator in chief, not a blowhard in chief. >> reporter: rubio claiming he has the best foreign policy credentials in the feel. >> having dealt with foreign leader is a better experience than going to a committee hearing or something like that. >> reporter: jeb bush will get extra help from his family here in south carolina tomorrow. his mom, barbara bush, said to cam baypaign with him.
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bush, fourth place, barely reaching double digits, hoping it will give him a boost primary day here saturday. >> joining me from columbia, south carolina, that state's republican party chairman matt moore. thank forsz joining us. appreciate it. >> good to be here. >> you heard breaking news, brand-new poll showing donald trump 16 points up against his next rival, senator ted cruz, marco rubio in third, jeb bush in fourth. does that square with what your seeing on the ground and hearing from voters? >> very much matches what we've seen here in south carolina for the past few months. nationally the polls nationally match the south carolina polls. that poll from cnn was taken four days before the debate and two days after. i'm interested to see if the debate in south carolina had an impact on any of the numbers. as we go into the week here. >> south carolina is an open primary, i believe, voters, regardless how registered, can vote in whichever primary they
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want. a lot of observers suggested that trump, at the debate saturday, may have been trying to win independents and democrats by doing things like attacking george w. bush for, in his words, lying about weapons of mass destruction, allowing 9/11 to happen on his watch. if that is trump strategy to win over independents and democrats going after george w. bush, could that work? >> that's one theory of here in south carolina we lack proof that people cross over to our primary. the democrats have one that is consequential between clinton and sanders. could be a risky strategy, in my opinion. >> responding to mr. trump's proposed muslim ban, you tweeted, donald trump's bad idea and rhetoric send a shiver down my spine. last night president bush told voters, quote we do not need someone in the oval office who
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mirrors and inflames our anger and frustration. do you agree with what former president bush said, and do you think it's part and parcel with what you tweeted. >> my tweet was in november, more than a few months ago. i don't think it's reasonable for every person to agree with every candidate all of the time. i've spoke been various, different things i respect president bush. he's a well-respected figure in south carolina and last republican president. hess father was the last republican president before that. there's a bit of risk, ooh you think, in attacking the bush family here, regardless of your feelings on jeb's campaign, how he's doing here. we'll see where it all go. >> president bush is hugely popular among republicans in your state, a lot turned up to see him than typically for a jeb bush rally. do you think that affection for george w. bush can transfer to
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february bush? that's the 50 delegate question. what is percent of undenieded? so we're not sure. i'm not looking ford to 7:00 p.m. >> matt moore, thanks so much. good look. >> will luck be a lady for hillary clinton as she focuses on courting the african-american vote in the south? new cause for concern in a different state going to the polls saturday as well.
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>> welcome back to "the lead." more on our politics lead. hillary clinton and bernie sanders continuing to court
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african-american voter today critical to the south carolina primary, which democrats are holding a week after the republican contest there this saturday. this saturday, in fact, democrats have a different contest and altogether different state, nevada. and that state hillary clinton once considered that a lock but it's now looking more competitive. cnn senior washington correspondent jeff zeleny is in charleston, south carolina, where bernie sanders is speaking this very minute. jeff, sanders and clinton fighting a war on two fronts right now, south carolina where you are, and nevada. >> reporter: sure are, jake. both fronts are critical. south carolina is going to provide the first test for the clinton campaign to see if that southern fire wall will hold. bernie sanders is trying to break through the cracks, at least a little bit. >> hillary clinton and bernie sanders in fierce competition to win over black voters. >> for justice. >> reporter: as sanders' campaign in south carolina -- >> i'll be in -- as somebody who
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is elected president will help lead this country in the fight against institutional racism. >> reporter: clinton was in harlem, meeting with al sharpton and other leaders. she cast her bid for the presidency as another chance to break history in america. >> my campaign is about breaking every barrier. >> reporter: their eyes fixed on south carolina where next week's democratic primary will test the strength of clinton's southern fire wall and the bred of sanders' appeal. african-american voters are a critical constituency, making up 55% of the 2008 presidential primary. clinton/sanders battle shining a light on criminal jut reform and racism. >> i believe, absolutely, that america can't live up toite potential unless every single person has a chance to live up to theirs. >> reporter: sanders said racial injustice is rooted in economic inequality. >> when we talk about inequality
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it goes without saying, that the african-american community is suffering even more. >> reporter: an uphill climb for sanders. in south carolina, clinton leads by 18 points, according to a new cnn poll. among black voters, the poll gives clinton a 37-point advantage. sanders believes his economic arguments will resonate with black voters. >> the african-american community suffered more and has recovered if a much less significant way. >> reporter: he campaigned with errica garner's whose father's death helped inspire the black lives protest. eric decide after a police officer placed him in a chokehold after an arrest. >> public servant that is no the afraid to stand against the establishment for the people, the next president of the united states, bernie sanders. >> reporter: she's also the subject of a powerful campaign
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video. >> that's why i'm for bernie. >> reporter: the clinton campaign is fighting hard for south carolina, collecting far more endorsements, including from eric garner's mother. >> we love you, hillary. >> reporter: they hope a strong win will solidify her position as the party's front-runner. >> reporter: there is no question sanders is running behind here as the new poll shows among black voter. what senator sanders is trying to do win overyounger voters. wrapping up his final argument. hoping the economic argument resonates with young voters. that's why he's going to more house college in atlanta, historic black college, showing more than one democratic candidate in this race. >> jeff zellny, thank you. for the first time obama administration said it is looking at how it might respond if russia does not obey a cease-fire agreement. air strikes hit two hospitals
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and a school in northern syria. the bombings killed 22 people, today the pentagon would not confirm whether it believes russia carried out air strikes, only saying it would respond if necessary. the state department went further and indirectly did place blame. >> we're pretty confident in our assessment this was russia that carried out the strikes. >> russia denied bombing the hospitals. the cease-fire would be a pause in syria's 5-year-old civil war and allow humanitarian aid to bombarded areas. plans for saying good-bye to justice scalia being released. questions swirling over hess death by conspiracy theorists. the ranch owner whose comments sparked odd comments explains what he meant. minutes away from president obama's presser where he will talk about his plan for filling the vacancy that scalia leaves behind and how he plans to get republicans to allow a vote on the nominee. scover card. hey, i heard you guys can help me with frog protection? sure, we help with fraud protection.
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that it should be the next president who should be the one to fill the new supreme court vacancy, not the current president. the death of justice antonin scalia set off a political firestorm this weekend, along with the mourning. republicans initially appeared to be in lock step saying no nominee will even be heard though there may be some cracks in that vin near of unanimous opposition. moments, president will take on his critics. he's holding a news conference after wrapping a two-day retreat with the heads of asian nations. michelle kosinski in california. what do we expect to hear from the president when he comes and speaks and takes questions if. >> reporter: jake, this is the first time he's going to take questions since this happened and he's going to want to emphasize points he made after scalia's death. he's going to say that you know, he has this constitutional duty to choose a nominee, and by the same token, the senate has a
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constitutional duty to give this person, whomever it may be, a fair shot. just yesterday we heard the white house make the same points but say, look, the constitution makes it very clear what needs to happen in the situation and called that ironclad. but in these questions, this is where it could get interesting. we hear the president talk about how he feels what's going on, where he is in the process, does he think there is a fair shot to be had right now, jake. >> michelle stick around, we'll come back to you. we learned justice antonin scalia will lie in repose at the supreme court, this coming friday. his funeral will follow on saturday, exactly one week after he was found dead in his bed on a hunting trip in texas. as several names are being floated as potential successors, senator chuck grassley, chairman of the senate judiciary committee which oversees confirmation hearings, waiting to hear the president's nominee, who it is, before deciding whether or not to move forward
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with any hearings. let's bring in cnn justice correspondent pamela brown. a periweird spot, but republica don't want to replace scalia with an obama pick, not during an election year, you might not get a hearing. >> yeah. and from what we can tell, jake, that would be extremely unusual, to say the least. both sides today continue to dig in their heels and this is no doubt the beginning of what will be a very long fight. all of this, even before the justice is laid to rest. >> reporter: justice antonin scalia's seat on the supreme court sits draped in black, reminder of the void that conservative giant has left behind. >> the court gets back to business, his absence will be felt very strongly and perhaps no more so than in the courtroom where he was a larger than life figure. >> reporter: scalia's death put president obama on a collision course with senator republicans for the next supreme court nominee. today, committee chairman chuck
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grassley told radio iowa he has not made up his mind whether there be confirmation hearings for any potential candidate. >> i would wait until the nominee is made before i would make any decisions, in other words, take it a step at a time. >> reporter: democratic leaders came out in full force to defend the president's position. harry reid, in a scathing op-ed, republicans risk being, quote, remembered as most nakedly part tisson, obstructionist and irresponsible majority in history. hillary clinton, firing off 11 tweets calling any disgraceful. the team is whittling down a list of possible nominees, some names include d.c. circuit court judge, an eighth circuit court judge, unanimously approved by the republican-led senate.
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also, chief judge of d.c.'s court of appeals and paul wattford obama appointee. the white house is expected to announce a nominee within a month. questions have been raised about justice scalia's death, in part, because there and united states no autopsy done, as requested by the family, and even though it was determined that he died of natural causes that didn't stop republican presidential candidate donald trump from weighing in on the support theories. take a listen. >> i just landed and hearing the a big question, the question -- it's a horrible topic but they say they found a pillow on his face which is unusual place to find a pillow. i literally just heard it a little while ago. just started to come out now. >> trump fueling the fire. the only or of the ranch tells cnn when he found scalia, looked like he had a restful night
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sleep, nothing out of the ordinary. we spoke to a law official, no signs of foul play in justice scalia's room and any conspiracy theorys are baseless. >> the pillow was on his head up here, not on his face, little different. >> big detail. >> pamela brown, thank you. in minutes president obama will address republicans threat to look any nominee he puts forward. president obama's plan to get a justice confirmed before he leaves the white house, more on that after the break. (male vo) across america, people like basketball hall of famer dominique wilkins are taking charge of their type 2 diabetes with non-insulin victoza®. for a while, i took a pill to lower my blood sugar. but it didn't get me to my goal. so i asked my doctor about victoza®. he said victoza® works differently than pills. and comes in a pen. victoza® is proven to lower blood sugar and a1c. it's taken once a day, any time. victoza® is not for weight loss, but it may help you lose some weight.
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the vacancy should be filled by the next president. let's talk about this while we wait for president obama. joining me now, jeffrey toobin, former communications director for ted cruz, amanda carpenter, democratic strategist, stephanie cutter, steered the white house confirmation process for sonia society ta mayer. how much can we expect the president to reveal about his thinking process on a nominee today? >> he's not going to disclose the names he'ser canning, but what i'm interested to hear, will he say anything about the kind of nominee he's looking for? will he be looking for a sitting judge? will he be looking for a less conventional choice, like an elected official or former elected official or someone who is a private lawyer or an academic? you know, i'd like to hear something about whether the unusual circumstances, which this, you know, unified republican opposition in
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advance, is changing his thinking about what kind of nominee to put forward. >> amanda, senate judiciary commission chuck grassley is,, till list didn't want to rule out a nominee out of hand. listen. >> i think we fall into the trap, if we just sfrply say, sight unseen, we fall into the trap of being obstructionist. >> is it fair to say we're seeing some chinks in the armor of republicans resolved standing unified against any nominee. >> i'm fearful of the first dam breaking. they're ruining a good thing the gop has. republicans came out strong immediately and said we are not going to have any hearings, they were making astand on principle, not allowing it to become
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personal. now opening the door to it, they're going to ruin that effort. mitch mcconnell, in the leadership position, he's shown he's willing to crack the whip on conservatives when they get out of line. they needs to crack the whip on that immediately. >> i know you disagree there shouldn't be a hearing. >> thank you for answering my question. >> i want to skip ahead to something else. a democratic debate going onnen, if it's a forgone conclusion, this person won't get a hearing should president obama nominate someone who will be a rallying cry, maybe a woman, someone in the mine minority group, i think it was sandra day o'connor's before scalia, it was scalia's seat, a contentious time, maybe pittsburgh a moderate. >> i think the president is going to do what he's done for the last two times he's picked supreme court nominees.
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he's going to pick somebody committed to impartial justice and to upholding the constitution. he's not going to look to make a political play. this is one of 0 the most important things a president does as president of the united states, other than commander in chief, picking a supreme court nominee, serving a lifetime on the court is a critical thing for any president. he's going to pick the best person he thinks to fill that position. >> jeff, "the new york times," dissenting opinion that jut scalia wrote, called the supreme court strikingly unrepresentative and he called for more diversity for its members not to only be graduates of harvard and yale law schools, not to only come from the northeast, california, new york city, but reach beyond, pick an evangelical, somebody from the midwest. what do you think? >> well i think there is definitely something to be said for some products other than harvard and yale law school being on the supreme court. but let's not kid ourselves. what justice scalia wants issen someone who will vote like he did, regard office what law
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school or what state they're from. vice versa, democrats the same thing. samuel alito went to jail. sotomayor went to law school, they have different views on constitutional matters. what matters about supreme court justices, i think, how they come out on issues. their backgrounds, you know, are interesting, but don't kid yourself. the partisans want is votes for or against abortion rights, for or against affirmative action, and everything else is secondary. >> jeffrey toobin, amanda carpenter, stephanie cutter, stick around. minutes away from president obama addressing his plan for replacing scalia on the bench, filling the vacancy, no one could ever replace scalia. president obama will discuss how he plans to get past republicans or get them on board. ♪ it was always just a hobby. something you did for fun.
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as you can see from the right side of the screen, still waiting for president obama to come out and take questions, take on his critics knowledge nating a supreme court justice if this last year of his in the white house. cnn's michelle kosinski traveling with the president in california. in term office the president naming somebody, a nominee to fill this void left by scalia, what are you learning about the time line? >> reporter: well, it united states a process and there are several steps in. what the white house has said is already the team that's going to be on this started laying the groundwork. they've met. the president has been in dribble contact with them and that's over the last couple of days. they got on this quickly. they haven't wanted to convey a huge sense of urgency, though. a lot of people were surprised when the president first spoke
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right after scalia's death and used the phrase, in due time. he also said there was plenty of time for him to come up with somebody, as well as plenty of time for the senate to give this person a fair shot. in his view, we already know, though the white house reached out to congressional offices, both democrats and republicans. we're told this is preliminary. so, all told, what the white house is pointing to is look at the past two nominees that the president presented for the supreme court. those took roughly a month and so, you know, it likely this will take about the same amount of time because of the rush surrounding this, the time frame is so unusual. i think it's very possible that it could happen sooner. again, it has to go go through that process of vetting and then interviews. the president will speak directly and in person to a number of people on his short list. what could help, though, because the president has done this two times before, some of the people who are on prior short lists will very likely be on this
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short list. some of that groundwork obviously has already been done, jake. >> all right. tick tock, of course. stick around. we'll hear from president obama any moment for the first time since supreme court justice antonin scalia died unexpectedly, he'll speak at length. scalia, of course, leaving an open seat on the court in this election year. cnn analyst, jeffrey toobin, amanda carpenter, and democratic strategist, stephanie cutter. ben carson said if a republican were president the gop nominees would be pushing him to nominate a new justice. done he have a point? if this was year eight of president cruz's administration and the democrats were controlling the senate and saying, no way, no way, cruz would be pushing the nominee, i got to believe. >> that's why republicans should be unappall getically direct about what they're trying to do by stopping the nomination. voters have been crying out for republicans to stop president obama's agenda in his tracks, stopping his final supreme court
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pick that would change the ideological balance of the court as a direct way of doing this. i don't think we should bother out with digging up quotes, how republicans and democrats are wrapped around us, who cares. republicans must make it an election issue and say, we're playing with all of the marbles, let's let the next president decide. >> one of quotes dug up by republicans is chuck schumer -- chuck cruz, i invented -- a scary character -- 2007 chuck schumer said -- obviously a year, more than a year before bush left office -- the senate should block any nominee bush might make to the supreme court. there is a bit of goose-gander going on here. >> schumer wasn't say they're going to outright stop with no hearing, no vote. what republicans are doing right now is unbelievably unprecedented and it is going to turn on them in this elections.
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i think that's what you're seeing with tom tillis and chuck grassley, people are saying, wait a minute, shutting down the government never worked out for us before and now we're about to shut down the third branch of government the supreme court of the united states for our own partisan reasons, that's crazy. that's what i think is happening. republicans are starting to come to their senses. >> truth squad this in is this unprecedented? under the impression that quite often in the fourth year of a president's term or the eighth year if it's two terms, the senate, if it's controlled by the opposition party, does kind of stop confirming their judges? >> right. there's something called the thurman rule, which is an informal tradition at the senate that the president's judicial nominees pretty much stop around the time of the political conventions. however, you will notice, the political conventions haven't happened yet. and the supreme court only has nine members, unlike other courts where other people can
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sort of pick up the slack. it is unusual, especially in recent years, for a supreme court vacancy to take place in the eighth year of a president's tenure. the most -- the closest analogy is in 19 -- late 1987, after the defeat of robert bork and douglas ginsburg, anthony kennedy nominated to the supreme court and confirmed in february of 1988, which was in the last year of president reagan's term. and the chairman of the judiciary committee at the time was joseph biden, a democrat. you can say that there was a republican nominee confirmed in the last year of a republican presidency, but no situation is precisely analogous, and this is mostly about power, it's not about principle. republicans can stop them because they can. >> right. obviously that was after the robert bork situation and doug
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ginsburg, god forbid, smoked marijuana years before and pulled as well. i don't doubt this action will be popular among republican rank and file. do you somebody who wants a republican to win the white house in november, do you not worry about how it might play among moderates, independents in pennsylvania, ohio, et cetera? >> i have zero worries. it's compelling to take the case to the american people and say the next president will decide the direction of the court. this isn't just a regular seat. this will change the balance of the court. it's far too important to be decided in an election year. i don't care about the thurman rule, it is important. a year isn't too long to wait. the courts will continue to function. all decisions will be upheld by the lower court. our democracy will survive. it's better to let people weigh in on it than let it be decided
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by a 6-8 vote. >> when the president was overwhelmingly elected in 2008 and 2012, that's the presidential election, do you serve for a full four years until january 20th when a new president comes? >> he has a right to nominate someone and make a case. the senate has a right to -- >> exercise the power, to review the president's nominees and vote on them. >> the senate has a duty to provide advice and consent. >> should they take it to a vote, then? >> he have no obligation to take it to a vote. >> how are they advising and consenting. at the end of the day this is going to hugely impact the balance of the senate. >> absolutely. >> 2016. you have a number of republicans running in states that obama won and a number of -- blue states. >> a bunch have come out in favor or the block, blocking.
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>> is there a neutral term for it? >> they cannot win the states without pulling in independents and swing voters. independents and swing voters one thing they hate, shutting down the government, obstructing the government. >> president obama speaking right now. let's go to him. >> i have hosted foreign leaders here before. it's quite another to host ten nations at same time and i want to thank everybody who helped make the summit such a success. for 50 years, leaders and people across southeast asia have workwor worked together to advance mutual security, prosperity and digni dignity. for decades the united states has been a proud partner with s asian. as i described yesterday. the spirit working together on behalf of mutual interests, mutual respect, guided our work
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over the past two days and so i especially want to thank my fellow leaders for being here for their commitment and the progress that we've made together. one of my main messages over the past two days commitment of the united states to asian and it's people. that commitment is and will reman strong and enduring with our strategic partnership we have a framework to guide our ties for decades to come. here, we agreed to a number of key principles include that asean will be indisspins ebl to peace, prosperity in the pacific. speaking with a clear, unified voi voice it can help secure opportunity and human dignity, not only for the 600 million people across asean but across the asian pacific and around the
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world. i'm here at the summit, we were allowed to make progress on multiple fronts first we agreed to do more to encourage innovation at the heart of modern competitive economies. i number of discussions with leaders who have recipes. rule of law, transparency, efficient customs, modern infrastructure, e-commerce and the free flow of information, support for small and medium sized businesses and perhaps, most importantly, investment in people. investment in strong schools to educate. around the table, recognition this is of the that asean countries need to continue on. as they doing they will create more opportunity foies for tradd investment. i affirm the strong support for
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the asean community and united states will be a partner to integrate economies and produce investment. announcing a new initiative, u.s./s a seen connect across the region to coordinate engagement and entrepreneurs investors and businesses with each other. we're also doing more to help aspiring innovators in the region, learn english, i reiterated the trans-pacific partnership which includes four asean members can advance economic innovation and assess stronger rules of trade. we have launched ai in you effort to help all asean countries understand the key elements of tpp as we at reforms that could lead to them joining. second, with regard to security, united states and asean are
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reaffirming strong commitment to a regional order where international rules and norms and the rights of all nations, large and small, are upheld. we discussed the need for tangible steps in the south china sea to lower tensions including a halt to further reclamation, new construction and militarization of disputed areas. freedom of navigation must be upheld and lawful commerce should not be impeded. the united states will continue to ply fly, sail operate and international law applies. we continue to help allies and partners strengthen maritime capables and discussed how any disputes between claimants in the region must be resolved peacefully through legal means such as upcoming arbitration ruling under the u.n. convention of the law of the seas, which parties are obligated to respect and abide by.
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third, i made it clear the united states will continue to stan with those across southeast asia working to advance rule of law, good governance, accountable institutions, and the universal human rights of all people. we continue to encourage a return to civilian rule in thailand, we will sustain our engagement with the people of myanmar, as a new president is selected and as they work to implement the cease-fire agreement and move forward with national reconciliation. across the region, we'll continue to stand with citizens and civil society and defend their freedom of speech, of assembly and of the press. no one, including those in political opposition, should ever be detained or imprisoned simply for speaking that mind. that only stymies progress, only makes it harder for countries to truly thrive and prosper. finally, the united states and asean are doing more to deal with transnational challenges together. i offered our assistance to
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better leverage interpol data, prevent the flow of foreign terrorist fighters. we agreed implementing the paris climate change agreement, including helping developing countries adapt and mitigate impacts of climate change will be critical and it will enable them to leap ahead to new and affordable clean energy. as we pursue our sustainable development goals, we're launching a new competition, innovation challenge to encourage students across asean to develop new solutions to boost agriculture, moving ahead with our global health security agenda to prevent future epidemics and pledge the assistance to help asean combat the horror of hume trafficking. i believe the summit has put the u.s./asean partnership on a new tra yekjectory to carry us to n
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heights. southeast asia a foreign policy priority of my presidency. i look forward to visiting vietnam for the first time in may and becoming the first u.s. president to visit laos when it hosts the east asia summit in september. i'm confident whoever the next president may be will build fou strong sustained bipartisan support for american engagement in the asia pacific region. and through our young southeast asian leaders initial different our investment in young people, in their business success, civil society and grassroots leaders across the region, i believe, will further bind us together in a spirit of partnership and friendship for many years to come. let me tackke a few questions a start with darlene of the associated press. >> my question is about the supreme court. >> i'm shocked.
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what recourse do you you have if leader mcconnells blocks a vote on your nominee? do you think if you choose someone moderate enough republicans might change course and schedule a vote? if you consider that choice who to come nanominate, what qualif important to you in diversities among them? thank you. >> first of all, i want to reiterate heartfell condolences to the scalia family. obviously justice scalia and i had different political orientations and probably would have disagreed on the outcome of certain cases but there's no doubt that he was a giant on the supreme court, helped to shape the legal landscape. he was, by all accounts, a good friend and loved his family